The Use Of Capital Letters In The English Language

feather + Capital Letters

Most often while writing, some people are confused when it comes to capital letters; which word should start with a capital letter and under what circumstances?! This is because Capital Letter usage is mostly done by intuition by most of us; do you know exactly when to use capital letters? If yes, I invite you to see if you got it right – if no, you have come to the right place, continue your reading below.

When To Use Capital Letters?

1) Beginning of a sentence

This is the very basic and classical usage of capital letters in the english English language and any language since old times.

2) When using proper nouns

Wakish, Duffy, London, Manchester, November Jupiter, etc.

3) For adjectives formed from proper nouns

Elizabethan poets, Scotch whisky, the French language

4) When using ‘special proper nouns’

Please note that ‘special nouns‘ is not an official word class, but it is just how I’m personally tagging the following:
God, Christ, Bible, Trinity, etc.

5) For a pronoun or possessive adjective applying to ‘God’

“They trusted in God that He would save His people”

6) For the first person singular, I

exclamation mark But this does NOT apply for ‘me, my, etc..’

7) For personification (often used in poetry)

– If Winter comes, can spring be far behind? (Shelley)

8.) For the chief words in title of people, books, plays, etc.

Elizabeth the Second, Alfred the Great, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Tale of Two Cities

9) For salutations or forms of addressing (often in letters)

Dr, Mr, Mrs, Miss, etc.

10) In letters, for the greeting and complimentary close

Dear Sir,…
Yours faithfully,…

11) When using abbreviations of degrees, titles, etc..

B.Sc ==> Bachelor of Science
Q.C ==> Queen’s Counsel
M.P ==> Member of Parliament

12) For the opening words of direct speech

“Blogging is my passion as well as my job”, said Darren Rowse

exclamation mark But the capital letter should not be repeated in the second part of a broken quotation:

“I am working hard now,” he said, “in order to provide for my old age.”

13) For the first word in each line of poetry

First liner..
Second liner..
Third liner..

exclamation mark But this convention, as far as I remember, is however being disregarded by modern poets. (New generation, new styles)

Have I missed Any Other Uses Of Capital Letters?

If you think so, please do use the comment form below to add to this list, thanks.

A Glance At The Uses Of Commas – The Shortest Punctuation Mark

Flower Vase, Commas

Last time during the explanation on “What is a punctuation“, I mentioned that the uses of commas will be elaborated in a later session and this is exactly what this article is focussed on; so fasten your seat belts.

What Is A Comma?

→ A comma is a sign or punctuation mark which denotes the shortest pause and the least amount of separation between words, phrases or clauses.

Importance Of Commas

→ The comma is the most frequently used punctuation mark and has an array of uses.
Is this a coincidence, is this a chance?
Of course not! As I previously told you, a punctuation mark helps to translate or convey the exact voice inflexion from spoken to written words. And when anyone talks, there’s always a series of short pauses. Now by definition, a comma marks a short pause.

exclamation mark Now be careful to not overuse commas, that is, do not use too much of it in your sentence. Why? It will spoil the meaning of your sentence and making it confusing for your readers. A sentence with many unnecessary commas often leads to several interpretation.

When To Use Commas?

Your common sense and the desire to make your meaning clear, will usually guide you where a pause is needed. Just try to say aloud what you want to write and see for yourself where you make obvious pauses. Everything comes with practice and maturity of your writing skills.

General Uses Of Commas – When Are Commas Used?

star1) To separate words in a list or series

→ Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Fernando Torres were the top three players nominated for the FIFA world player of the year.

star2) To mark off direct speech

→ Aliya said, “He’s the handsome I was telling you about the other day.”

star3) To mark off or separate expressions like: “however, in fact, of course, therefore, after all, indeed, for instance“, from the rest of a sentence

→ Indeed, Manchester United won the prestigious title of the world best football club.
→ It was, however, too expensive for our budget.

star4) To show Ellipsis

→ You may go your way; I, mine.
→ He will soon succeed; you, never.

star5) To mark off question tags.

→ The new year’s eve was great, isn’t it?

star6) To separate short co-ordinate clauses

→ Please run upstairs, go to my room, get me my bag.
→ I came, I saw, I conquered.
→ When it rained, we got wet.

star7) To mark off nouns in apposition

→ Problogger, Darren Rowse, is very much loved and solicited in the blogosphere.

star8.) To separate clauses in a compound sentence.

Mickels Rea was very busy with his first official album, so he did not come to the last Star Academy get-together party.

exclamation mark Pitfalls:
In Complex Sentences, the comma should not be used when the omission of the Relative Clause would make the Principal Clause meaningless or would change its meanings. (Explanation of the red words in a later session)

Consider the following sentence:
“Shakespeare plays which were written in the years 1604-1609 are all tragic and sombre.”

⇒ Now, if commas marked off the clause as follows:
“Shakespeare plays, which were written in the years 1604-1609, are all tragic and sombre.”

This would completely change the whole meaning of the sentence and would thus convey the main meaning of: “Shakespeare plays are all tragic and sombre.”

Is this what the original sentence wanted to say? No, the original meant that only those written in the years 1604-1609 were tragic.

Got it? So, be careful when using commas.

Last Words..

There are other different ways in which commas are used, but I have brought forward only the most common and important ones. Commas can be used as per your intuition since different people and writers essentially have varied styles – but provided you convey the right meaning without ambiguities. In any case, I would to love to hear your comments below..

5 Phrases With Prepositions / The Wives Of Verbs – Edition 01 – With Alphabet A

Phrases With Prepositions

Verbs and prepositions have always been linked together in the construction of a simple sentence. I hence call them this way: verbs and prepositions are the husband and wife, for there cannot be a shining house without a couple. (That’s my own quote :) ). Each verb has only a set or one compatible preposition(s); ideally each verb is associated with a preposition, but there are also some cases where a verb might dwell with more than one preposition.

This is the first edition that I brought forward in this series of “Phrases With Prepositions” and I will start with the alphabet A and upto Z. But trust me this is a whole lot of them and yet they are very crucial in helping you write better and confidently. I will show you what verb goes with what preposition(s) and also forming a sentence or phrase with them. It should definitely be a good collection in your database of “Learn Good Writing Skills by starting with the Basics of the English Language“. So here we go…

5 Verbs And Prepositions With A Sentence

1) Abandon to

Having no other choice, the King abandoned his ministers to the fury of the of the mob.

2) Abide by

As a honest student, you should always abide by the rules and regulations of your institution.

3) Able to

Having gone bankrupt, the manager is not able to pay his employees right now.

Ideally, we do not say “is not able to”, instead we say “is unable to” – This is much better English. But for the sake of the subject of this article, I have used “is not able”

4) Absorb in

Tom Sawyer was so absorbed in his day dreams that he completely forgot about Mr Dobbins’ class.

5) Abhorrence of (abhorrence means ‘strong dislike’ or ‘disgust’)

Most sentient women have an abhorrence of lizards

That’s it for this edition. I have tried to make the sentences simple so that you can concentrate more on how the marriage of certain verb with its specific preposition goes. For example, we cannot say “able for“, that’s not good English (just like an eagle is not an appropriate pair for a hen – Got it?!). Hopefully, as you keep on reading editions after editions, you will surely get a better grasp of things. So don’t forget to subscribe freely and come back often. And please do use the comment form to give me your feedback and other possible sentences or associations.

A Comprehensive Analysis Of Ellipsis / What Is An Elliptical Sentence And When Is It Used?

Rose Leaves, Ellipsis

Anatomy Of An Ellipsis In Written Languages

→ We say an ellipsis, but many ellipses(Ellipsis in singular form, but Ellipses in plural form)
Ellipsis, has two meanings as far as linguistics is concerned. Some linguists or writers might argue that it has like 3 or 4 meanings. But I’m convinced that it has only 2 main meanings and the rest are just derivatives, or different styles, as I will show you.

star First Definition Of Ellipsis

In any written form, (like English, French, polish or Chinese), the common reference attributed to an ellipsis is:
An ellipsis comprises a set of three consecutive dots (without any spaces between them)

Those 3 dots can be further broken down to the following:

1) To show a deliberate silence to stress an emotion or feeling

I am Sorely vexed

Here the author would remain silent after speaking and looking to his opponent with a severe face expression

2) To indicate or show the omission of a word or groups of words.
The words are omitted simply because the first set of words would give a clear indication of those [omitted] words.

It is raining heavily

The full intended sentence would be: “It is raining heavily today
Today‘ is the omitted word because the verb ‘is‘, which is in the present tense, clearly shows that the action is happening now!

star Second Definition Of Ellipsis / What Is An Elliptical Sentence?

→ In written English language, an ellipsis refers to the omission of a word or set of words from a sentence.
→ The idea of simply omitting words in a sentence, makes that ‘sentence’ to be referred as an Elliptical Sentence.

a) Either Chelsea or Man Utd will win the English Barclays Premier League this season.

The full intended meaning of the sentence is:
Either Chelsea will win the English Barclays Premier League
Or Man Utd will win the English Barclays Premier League

b) Wakish does not often write articles, but he does it is a blogging explosion.

The full intended meaning of the sentence is:
Wakish does not often write articles
but when he does write articles it is a blogging explosion

→ As you can deduce from the above, an elliptical sentence undoubtedly avoids repetition of words which can otherwise be read ‘in between the lines’.
Intelligent usage of ellipses greatly enhances the structure of a sentence and thus conveying a clear meaningful message.

Pitfalls Of Elliptical Sentences

Don’t try to force a sentence to be elliptical, it will convey an incorrect grammatical meaning.

Alesha neither has nor will go to Pubcons

Here obviously, the reader will be confused in understanding that sentence
The writer intended to say:
Alesha neither has go
nor will go to Pubcons

exclamation mark This is completely wrong, so be careful with such incorrect elliptical sentences

Final Notes On Ellipsis

→ I have precised that I’m defining ellipsis as pertained in ‘Written Language’. But ellipses also have different meanings in other types of languages, namely: mathematical languages, programming languages or computer languages.

→ In written language, ellipses vary slightly in their position in a sentence depending on their specific ‘governing linguistic bodies‘; whether to include a space at the beginning or end of the ‘3 dots‘ or/and to enclose them within square brackets..etc. Usage of an ellipsis in Japanese is different from that in Polish. For instance, in the U.S, writers abide by a ‘guide‘ known as the ‘Bluebook‘.

Readers’ Short Exercises On Ellipsis

1) Can you think of other (derived) meanings of ellipses?
2) Can you try to think of sentences which could make a wrong usage of an ellipsis?

General Principles Of Punctuation – What Are Punctuations And How To Use Them

diced vegetables + what are punctuations

Last time I explained the importance of punctuations. Today, I will continue by elaborating the meaning of the main punctuations and how they are expected to be used.

What Is A Punctuation

→ A punctuation is simply a sign or mark used in a written sentence to make it easy to read and understand
→ It is a way of conveying the exact intended meaning of spoken language

How A Comma Or Two Can Change The Meaning Of A Sentence

Consider the illustration of the famous story of Mrs Abington, the actress who played in the first performance of Sheridan’s School for Scandal. After the show she found a note, in her dressing room, left by her rival actress Mary Robinson. The piece of note had the following simple sentence:

“Mary Robinson says Mrs Abington is the greatest actress”

Mrs Abington, who was equally kind-hearted, added two commas and sent the note back. The simple sentence was majestically changed to:

“Mary Robinson, says Mrs Abington, is the greatest actress”

You see, now the meaning completely changed.

No Exact Rules To Guide The Usage Of Punctuations

No two writers will ever punctuate a passage or piece of writing in the same manner. Just like an artist, punctuation varies with the author’s taste and style (or creativity). But they will all conform to general principles to convey the same meaning.

The General Principles Of Punctuation

star 1) Full stop
→ Used to denote the end of a sentence
→ Indicates the longest and strongest pause between groups of words.
→ Also used as part of Abbreviations

M.P. (Member of Parliament)
M.A. (Master of Arts)

exclamation mark But if the contraction includes the final letter of the word, the full stop should be omitted
E.g: Dr, Mr, Ltd, .. etc.
So do not confuse Abbreviations with contractions

star 2) Comma
→ Used to denote the shortest natural pause between groups of words
→ But it is used in several different circumstances to give different meaning to a sentence. (I will elaborate on this in a later session)
→ The use of commas is often intuitive, try to find out where a pause is needed in spoken language

star 3) Semicolon
→ Used to separate sentences of equal importance (co-ordinate sentences). In such a case, a semicolon is more appropriate than a conjunction.
E.g: Your presentation pleased my boss; I was so delighted.

→ Used to mark or indicate an important pause.
You played a fabulous match today; I have observed how you bore your fatigue; this was a real test for you; and you received it as a challenge.

→ Used with words like therefore, however, nevertheless, besides, also, otherwise,.. etc. Joining these sentences with a semicolon has a stronger effect than just using conjunctions like ‘and’

– Ali has done a remarkable job with my car; therefore I will pay him well.
– Bloggers must take more exercise; otherwise they will get fat.

star 4) Colon
→ Next longest pause to full stop
→ To introduce a quotation or a speech not depending on a verb
→ often followed by a dash, like :-
– Rocky is not going to join our mutual deal: we could not offer him a big enough salary.

→ To introduce a number of items in a list or enumerations
Having a credible website online involves: buying a hosting space, buying an address or domain and having a package or framework to display contents in the way we desire.

star 5) Interrogation note (note of interrogation) or question mark
→ Used when you are asking a direct question, but not after an indirect one.

Direct: I said to him, “When are you going back?”
Indirect: I asked him when he was going back.

star 6) Exclamation note or note of exclamation
→ Used after interjections
→ Used after groups of words or sentences expressing emotion or a wish
→ Used after an exclamatory sentence

What a wonderful blog!
I love you Alisha!
I wish my blog gets more readers!

star 7) Apostrophe
→ Used to show the omission of a letter or letters.
I’ve ==> I have
don’t ==> I do not
it’s ==> it is
O’clock ==> of the clock

→ Used to denote the possessive case of nouns
Wakish’s blog
My brother’s car

star 8) Quotation mark or inverted commas
→ Used to enclose direct speech
→ Used at the beginning and end of a quotation

star 9) Dash (single dash)
→ Used to indicate an emendation or an unexpected turn in a sentence
→ Used to define items following a general description
I invest all I have in this blog – money, time, energy, knowledge and skills.

All those general principles and definition of punctuation might vary slightly from author to author, writer to writer or blogger to blogger; but the basics nevertheless remains the same!